Check Out Smart and Imaginative White House Photography of Charles Dharapak

August 22, 2015 Updated: October 5, 2018    

Calling Charles Dharapak a White House photographer wouldn’t really do him justice. Over his 20 years with the Associated Press he worked in Southeast Asia and later he covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2002. But the truth is that since 2003 he’s been settled in Washington covering the busy political hive.

Photographing politics can be dreary. The presser starts, the official is 20–200 minutes late, they arrive, stand behind a podium and some microphones, talk, and leave. Rinse and repeat.

It is all the more impressive then that Charles Dharapak managed to spice up his career with so many interesting shots that transformed occasions that might otherwise be commonplace into eye-catching images, even playful at times.

Dharapak was born in New York and studied print journalism and economics at New York University. In 2012 he was designated Still Photographer of the year by the White House News Photographer’s Association. He also won 1st place in the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism General News Single Category.

Here we bring you a selection of photos mostly portraying President Barack Obama, his administration, and other scenes from Washington’s abundant political life, yet from a perspective that often eludes newspaper pages. Mixed in are some scenes of daily life in Nation’s capital, with the notion of the government presence sometimes subtly suggested in the background.

Of course, photographing the president may bring some little perks like accompanying him on a trip or two to some exotic destinations like Malaysia, or just around Europe, or perhaps Hawaii. But that’s just a part of the job–and there’s not enough time for sightseeing anyway.